Untitled-1

Celebrating Pro-Choice Champ, Representative Alma Adams

United States Representative Alma Adams, North Carolina 12th Congressional District

Untitled-1

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina would like to take a moment to recognize and thank Representative Alma Adams for speaking out against H.R. 36. Officially known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act”, Representative Adams called it as it is, deeming it the “Painful and Oppressive to Women Act”.

Additionally, upon taking the floor in the House, Rep. Adams provided a voice of reason, stating that “H.R. 36 poses grave dangers to women and the American people will not be fooled. Women’s health and personal decisions should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor, not a male-dominated congress. Most abortions take place before 21 weeks, so many women who have abortions later in pregnancy do so because of medical complications and other barriers to access. H.R. 36 would harm women in need and increase obstacles to obtaining safe and legal abortions.”

See her complete floor speech here:

Thank you Rep. Adams for speaking up for women’s rights!

Health policies should be determined by medical experts, NOT politicians. Women must be trusted with their own bodies. As Representative Adams remarked, “Women’s personal health decisions are just that, personal!” Representative Adams we are proud to call you a North Carolinian and honored to name you a pro-choice champ!

cfcavatar

North Carolina Catholic for Choice Speaks Out Against #HB465

Sarah J. Bucher, a Catholic for Choice from Raleigh, North Carolina 

cfcavatarAs a pro-choice Catholic, I feel the need to speak out against North Carolina House Bill 465, which triples the existing mandatory abortion waiting period. When policymakers create obstacles in reproductive healthcare, they fail to respect an individual’s moral decision making, and they place additional burdens on vulnerable women. I expect elected officials to speak up for the rights of every individual and to advocate for those who will suffer most if this legislation is allowed to pass. Women in North Carolina deserve no less.

To learn more about HB 465, read this Op-Ed by Dr. David Grimes and Dr. Amy Bryant.  

SONY DSC

Veto #HB465! The People of North Carolina Deserve Better!

Lela Johnston, a Recent Alumna of NC State University and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Intern 

So we’re all clear, during a 2012 debate, our Governor Pat McCrory was asked, “If you’re elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?”. His one-word response? “None.”

Today, I speak to you as a native North Carolinian, as a graduate of Wake County Public School Systems, as a very recent alumna of North Carolina State University, as a former intern with NARAL North Carolina, as a woman, and as a human being, to ask Governor McCrory to keep that promise. HB 465 is bad medicine and bad politics. State-mandated waiting periods are medically unnecessary, intrusive, and demeaning.

The decision how and when to start a family should be my choice and my choice alone. Reproductive decisions extend far beyond the doctor’s office. A woman’s right to control her reproductive health is the most basic and critical element of her autonomy. Without this fundamental human right, my independence is threatened, and ultimately, political, economic, and social gender equality is still just a distant possibility.IMG_3335

And not only that, aren’t there more important issues our legislature should be focusing on? Expanding Medicaid, closing the wage gap, updating our transportation systems, raising the minimum wage, cleaning up the Dan River, improving our public schools, paying our teachers salaries they deserve, and ensuring that all those who wish to go to college can afford to do so, is just the short list. The people of North Carolina deserve better. I deserve better. I deserve to live in a state that allows me to make my own healthcare choices, free from coercion and intrusive regulation.

I may not have had a vote in HB 465, but I do have a voice. And, I’m here today to use that voice to urge our Governor to veto this harmful bill. Please keep your promise, Governor McCrory.  

IMG_3308-1

#HB465 is Bad Medicine and Bad Politics

“Keep Your Promise, McCrory” tour stop in Fayetteville: Speech by Raven Deas, NC State University Senior and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Intern 

I am a Fayetteville native, a North Carolina State University student, and for the past few months, an intern at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. At NARAL NC, we work every day to protect and advance the reproductive rights of North Carolinian women and families. Today, I am back in my hometown, as a concerned citizen. I’m worried that Governor McCrory doesn’t take his campaign promise seriously. As we all know, in 2012 Governor McCrory assured North Carolina voters that he would not allow any restrictions on abortion to become law once he was in office. Government-mandated waiting periods have no medical basis and are politically motivated.

Being raised in a military town, I grew up valuing bravery, respect, and of course freedom. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of choice. Attending NC State has further instilled these values for me, but I have also learned so many new things. I’ve learned that I can’t stay silent on things that matter. I’ve learned that prohibiting doctors from learning how to perform abortions doesn’t improve patients safety. So, here’s me not staying silent and saying with conviction that abortion restrictions like state-mandated waiting periods are the wrong priority for my community. We have real problems facing our community that elected officials should be focusing on instead of restricting abortion access. We need our state legislators addressing issues like extending health care coverage to half a million North Carolinians by closing the Medicaid gap or improving our public education and university system.IMG_3308-1

House Bill 465 is bad medicine and bad politics that unnecessarily interferes with a woman’s ability to make the best health care decisions for herself and her family. I urge Governor McCrory to keep his campaign promise and not allow this harmful bill to become law. North Carolina is heading in the wrong direction restricting women’s access to health care, especially when there are pressing issues our state leaders should be focusing on instead. Thank you.

Raven will be joining NARAL Pro-Choice NC for the final rally of the “Keep Your Promise, McCrory” tour in Raleigh. 

10997995_976444985700622_8477324365546816402_n

Wilmington Native & Leader of Students United for Reproductive Justice at UNC Speaks Out Against #HB465

“Keep Your Promise, McCrory” tour stop in Wilmington: Speech by Cara Schumann, Leader of the group Students United for Reproductive Justice at UNC-Chapel Hill and Wilmington Native 

I’m here as a woman, as a student, leader of the group Students United for Reproductive Justice at UNC, and as a Wilmington Native to ask that Gov. Pat McCrory keep the campaign promise he made in 2012 to veto any bill that imposed abortion restrictions in North Carolina. And that is exactly what House Bill 465 is. It is a blatant attack on our ability to have choice as North Carolina women and our ability to have the futures we work towards by restricting abortion access in our state.

unnamed-17

As a student at UNC-Chapel Hill I have been working toward my future for the past two years. And as a woman and a student I know that it is the guarantee of my ability to control my reproductive health that insures that I can have the future I want to. And it is the ability to choose when to have that a child that has allowed many women I know personally, to stay in school and work toward completing their educations rather than have to leave to care of a child they cannot afford.

It is this ability to be able to have choice that this HB 465 is working to take away. A 72-hour waiting period would ask women like me, and my friends, who are students to take three days away from our education and dedicate them to a procedure that shouldn’t take more than one visit.

It is asking the women of North Carolina with children, who are in poverty, who live in rural communities without one of the few abortion clinics we have near it to take away three days from their children, jobs, and communities and adding travel expenses to make an already expensive procedure even more costly. So costly that many women will not be able to afford to have a safe abortion in our state.

This bill is trying to punish those of us who are North Carolina women. I love our state. I love our town. And I feel betrayed that politicians in Raleigh care more about regulating bodies like mine then they do helping my community.

Helping it by perhaps expanding Medicaid and providing the much needed healthcare people need in our state.

Or maybe by restoring funding to education and helping improve our overburden10997995_976444985700622_8477324365546816402_ned school system and pay our teachers better than some of the lowest salaries in the entire country.

Or perhaps investing in our public university system, one of the best in the nation, and maintaining our systems affordability.

I demand, we demand, that Gov. Pat McCory keep his promises and veto House Bill 465. That rather than limit the rights of the women of North Carolina he protects our ability to choose. And our ability to have the futures we work for.

Thank you.

11150475_851068588315091_2991631670942116813_n

#HB465, A Condescending Concept

Maddie Majerus, Co-President of the Reproductive Justice Club at ASU and Appalachian State University Senior

I am writing this because I am angry. I am angry that, yet again, North Carolina politicians think that they know best when it comes to someone making a personal medical decision. House Bill 465 would TRIPLE the current waiting period for people seeking abortions, extending it to a full 72 hours. What a demeaning, condescending concept! That after expressing to your doctor that you need this medical procedure, you have to go home and think it over for three more days before being allowed to receive it!

11150475_851068588315091_2991631670942116813_nA three-day waiting period may seem like a minor annoyance, but for some people seeking abortion, it is a huge barrier to overcome. There are only a handful of abortion clinics in North Carolina, which means that some people have to travel for hours in order to get to one. This means taking time off work (and loosing out on the money they would be making), potentially finding and paying for childcare, and finding and paying for transportation. A three-day waiting period means that a person seeking an abortion would not have to do this once, but TWICE, if the clinic requires in-person initial visits. What if your employer won’t let you take the time off work? What if you don’t own a car and you can’t find a ride? How are you supposed to access the healthcare that you need with this added, unnecessary barrier?

Some of our lawmakers think that people need this extra time to think thier decision over. Representative Presnell said that she thinks that a person’s decision to get an abortion is made “very abrupt, very quickly.” Quite frankly, Representative. Presnell, it is none of your business if someone took three seconds, three days, or three weeks to make their choice! It is their decision to make, NOT yours. As Representative Adcock, a nurse practitioner said, “It’s not about knowledge, it’s about delay. It’s about medically unnecessary delay.”

I am fighting to protect a person’s right to decide what is right for their life and their body. That is why my Co-President, Anna Lobastova, and I will be joining Planned Parenthood and NARAL NC on Monday, May 11th at 4:30pm at the Governors Mansion to #StopHB465! Join us! Tell McCrory we remember his campaign promise and sign this petition to urge him to VETO HB 465! 

unnamed-10

“If Pat McCrory believes in a healthy North Carolina, he should veto HB 465!”

“Keep Your Promise, McCrory” tour stop in Charlotte: Speech by Reia Chapman, North Carolina Organizer for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and an Advisory Council Member of Social Workers for Reproductive Justice

Good Afternoon. My name is Reia Chapman, and I am here on behalf of Women Voting Our Values and as a NC resident in opposition to House Bill 465.

SisterSong is a Southern based, national membership organization and our purpose is to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the lives of marginalized communities. SisterSong’s mission is to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice (RJ) by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.

Reproductive Justice is defined as the right to have children, not have children, to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments, and the right to bodily autonomy — and is based on an individual’s human right to make personal decisions about their life. The obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is imperative for women of color.

As a RJ activist, I can say with certainty that abortions – like contraception and pre & post natal care – are a part of women’s overall reproductive healthcare and they should remain legal, accessible, affordable and safe. And as community organizer here in NC, I can say with certainty that abortion restrictions like state-mandated waiting periods are the wrong priority for my community.

Women of color are already limited with access to healthcare services in North Carolina. For example, when Medicaid expansion in NC was denied, over half-a-million North Carolinians remained at risk – especially the citizens in rural North Carolina that face financial and physical barriers to receiving preventative health care and health education as well as treatment for existing health problems.

HB 465 represents the very thing Governor McCrory agreed not to do: INCREASE ABORTION RESTRICTIONS! We charge this as Reproductive Oppression! Reproductive oppression is the control and exploitation of women, girls, and individuals through our bodies, sexuality, labor, and reproduction. Restricting a woman’s right to the full range of reproductive healthcare in essence controls the destiny of entire communities through the bodies of women and individuals.

unnamed-10Forcing women into motherhood has serious implications.   History and research indicate that desperation is dangerous which is why we must fight against any type of legislation that seeks to prohibit our Reproductive Freedom. We cannot forget that before Roe v Wade (1973) made abortion legal in this county women were losing their lives because they were trying to take care of themselves.

Oppressive legislation such as HB 465 further contributes to the marginalization of the most vulnerable communities in NC, and making women wait for 72 hours is dangerous and abusive. Mandatory delays create additional burdens for North Carolina women especially women in rural areas who have to travel many hours outside of their communities to reach a healthcare provider.

This is bigger than abortion. This is about trusting women and their ability to do what is best for themselves because we do not know their story. Therefore, we must eradicate any barriers that impact their reproductive decisions. This is not a singular issue with a single issue solution. Audrey Lorde stated “there is no such thing as a single issue because we don’t live single-issue lives.”

Representative Jacqueline Schaffer said in a statement before the house that “The poorest decisions that we make are the ones we make under pressure and on impulse.” The timetable proposed is medically unnecessary. The implication here is that women lack the capacity to consider their own needs, desires, and options. This is a matter of Reproductive Freedom. Women in NC are not making business transactions with regard to their Reproductive Health. We need to trust women to make reproductive choices for themselves.

Instead of limiting access to healthcare for NC women, We need our legislators focusing on:

  • Improving awareness of existing health care programs, like Medicaid, Medicare, and Health Choice through community outreach programs.
  • Adjusting/simplifying the requirements of current programs, such as those listed above, to allow more/improved coverage for those in need.
  • Ensuring that rural counties receive more healthcare funding and improving healthcare access through increased incentives for doctors to open practices in rural areas and better managed/funded healthcare facilities.
  • Initiating programs for those with no transportation or limited transportation to receive care.
  • Establishing a living wage ordinance to insure that rural citizens have the funds necessary to incorporate preventative healthcare into their lives.
  • Asking citizens what they want or need in terms of healthcare. Encourage community involvement in implementing change in health care access through outreach groups. Get involved.

As I close, I must say as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I am deeply concerned regarding the psychological impact and mental health of women who will be most affected by this measure. This is a critical time in the lives of all women. Daily we make choices around our reproductive health from what we eat, where we live, where we work, to who we’re intimate with and the type of healthcare support we need.IMG_3231

We believe it is essential to utilize the RJ frame as a means to unite women and their communities, be relevant to communities of color, and link to advocates from the nation’s capitol to the grassroots in order to develop proactive strategies to protect and preserve our lives.

We believe that RJ is achieved when all of us have the social, economic, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality and reproduction for ourselves, our families and our communities.

If Pat McCrory believes in a healthy North Carolina, he should veto HB 465!